The Icelandic Kennel Club is calling for a reconsideration of current laws regarding the quarantine of domestic pets that are brought into the country, RÚV reports. Herdís Hallmarsdóttir, the kennel club chair, says that the original rationale for such a lengthy quarantine does not hold up to current research and laws in other countries with similar ecosystems.
Currently, pet dogs being brought into Iceland must be quarantined for four weeks. This time period was based on arguments long maintained by Icelandic scientists, namely that foreign domestic pets introduce parasites into the Icelandic animal population and a four-week quarantine is necessary to discover and eradicate these pests. At the request of the Minister of Agriculture, a foreign veterinarian began a risk assessment in relation to the quarantine of dogs and cats last fall. This assessment was expected to be completed by April, but as of yet, remains unfinished.
In an interview on a Rás 2 radio program on Thursday morning, Herdís said that the Icelandic Kennel Club is awaiting the results of this assessment with interest and in the meantime, has familiarized themselves with the rules that are in place for pet importation in other countries. “We know that there is a very sensitive ecosystem in New Zealand,” she remarked. “We know that’s a country that’s very similar to Iceland. Six years ago, they decided to reduce the quarantine period down to ten days with vaccinations and requirements for treatment that the dogs need to undergo before they come to the country.”
Herdís also points out that pet owners in New Zealand are allowed to visit their animals while they are in quarantine, a possibility she wants to have considered in Iceland as well.
“What we want is a reassessment of these regulations,” she said. “The last evaluation was in 2003 and much has changed since then. If quarantine is necessary, it’s imperative that it be organized such that the animal is as comfortable as possible.”